Placing a bird nesting box or ‘siting’ as it is called can be a real challenge. Do you place it in the shade? Do you hang it on the tree? How high should I hang it and when should I hang it? There are so many questions which can seem both art and science to siting a box.
Nest building is risky business
Most birds will nest in the most peculiar places, from hanging baskets to disused car parts in the garden. Birds tend to nest where they feel relatively safe and secure with relatively good access without potential threat from predators. Nest boxes are an ideal opportunity to raise a brood in relative safety during the most vulnerable parts of their lives. Without nest boxes, birds tend to take more risks nesting in more open positions, risking predation.
Tips but no magic secrets
Over the hundreds of years of nest box siting, there is no magic secrets to siting a box, however there are a few tips that can help your birds have a better chance of finding and occupying your box year after year. Here are some tips:
Place your box up as soon as possible. Birds need time get used to a box in their territory. Blue tits and Great Tits are very territorial and will need time to investigate the box.
Site your box between 1.5m -5m above the ground away from potential access from predators like cats. Open fronted boxes should be placed a little lower than that. You can mount the box on a open tree, sheltered tree, post, wall etc. Avoid busy areas of the garden as this can distract birds. It is not good to place it to near feeding stations and out the way of the wind. Try to keep boxes a fair distance away from each other. You don’t want neighbourly disputes. Also try and drape branches around the box to act as perches for the young brood.
It is often written that having your box facing North, East or South East is best. However, just as long as it is bright shade not in bright sunshine. The hole of the box should allow a bird to have a clear flight path into the box.
Site your box very securely. Nothing worse than placing your box in a tree only to find it blown down one morning. Also use the correct screws and nails. ie aluminium nails to secure to tree for safety if tree is cut down at a later stage. Use straps, nylon bolts or whatever you can to make the box secure a possible as well as protect the tree too. Also make sure that the lid is secure from predators. Make sure that your ladder is safe as it can be tricky to mount a box with a ladder that is unsecured.
Make sure the box is clean after every season. Nests harbour parasites etc. Good to clean it out with boiling water and let it dry.
Place a prickly bush under the box to deter any predators. Consider using hole protectors to deter woodpeckers and other birds.
Try, try and try again
Above all else, please try all this points. If it is not working then try other things to get your birds to nest. Through watching your birds and learning from them, you will get them to nest year after year. It can be both fun and rewarding.
We hope these are helpful tips. If you have any more helpful tips, please let us know and we will help all. Handykam create specialist hand-made camera bird boxes for all types of birds.
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